The SEC has two remaining unbeatens: Alabama and Missouri. And while the Crimson Tide will no doubt be featured in the 3:30 p.m. ET CBS game a few more times this season, the Tigers likely won't get a shot to play in the SEC's premier game.
Missouri is fresh off an upset of Georgia in Athens, and the Tigers have two marquee games in the next two weeks: this Saturday against Florida and next Saturday against South Carolina. But CBS has already made its picks for both weeks, and neither game involves Mizzou. This Saturday, the network will broadcast Auburn at Texas A&M, and next week it will show the rivalry matchup between Alabama and Tennessee.
Dan Weinberg, CBS senior vice president of programming, told al.com's Jon Solomon that the Tigers have a number of issues working against them, especially in the near future. Standout quarterback James Franklin is out three to five weeks with a separated shoulder, and in its second year as a member of the SEC, Missouri isn't one of the traditional conference powers that draws tons of viewers:
"Injuries are a factor, but only one of many factors," Weinberg said. "We're looking holistically at our potential options. Do we focus on a key injury here or there? Yes. But not any more than other things. Who are the schools involved? What kind of star power do they have? What kind of appeal do they have across the country?"
The SEC's TV schedule is usually set two weeks in advance, so Missouri could potentially end up on CBS later in the season. But the competition from other conference games will make it tough for the network to pick the Tigers. After the next two weeks, Missouri games will be competing with Florida-Georgia, Alabama-LSU, LSU-Texas A&M and Alabama-Auburn. After facing Florida and South Carolina, the Tigers have games against Tennessee, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. It's hard to see CBS choosing any of those matchups over the previously mentioned games featuring high-profile SEC juggernauts.
One of the primary reasons the SEC was interested in acquiring Missouri was for its Kansas City and St. Louis TV markets. But right now, it looks like the Tigers won't be in the conference's TV spotlight anytime soon.
Of course, the SEC Championship is on CBS. The Tigers still control their own destiny.